Akwa Ibom State Governor, Pastor Umo Eno, has reiterated that zoning must be maintained in the forthcoming local government elections in the state.
The governor emphasized this at the inauguration of the newly appointed local government council transition chairmen, vice chairmen and council secretaries, held at the Banquet Hall, Government House, Uyo, on Thursday.
In his speech, Umo advised those that the zoning would not favour not to waste their time and resources pursuing any office, that they will not get it, insisting that the zoning would be followed to the letter.
He congratulated the newly sworn in transition chairmen of the local government areas, the vice chairmen and council secretaries.
Umo told them that, “you have been selected and given this great responsibility because of grace, not because you are the most qualified. I therefore, expect you to work harmoniously with your stakeholders and everyone else to advance our agenda of growth and prosperity of our people.”
To the returning council chairmen, he said, “this is an affirmation and testament of the good work you did, in the last three years and we expect nothing less from you, during this Transition period.
“Let me specifically thank the Speaker and indeed the entire Members of the House of Assembly for the expeditious manner they approved our request to constitute Interim Administration in the Local Government Areas.”
The governor reminded them that, “by virtue of Section 5 (1) of the Local Government (Administration) Law, 2017, the term of the Local Council Chairmen expired at twelve midnight yesterday and therefore, stands dissolved.
“There can’t be vacuum in governance at any level, and the House, relying on Section 5 (2) of the same Local Government (Administrative) Law, 2017, passed a resolution authorizing the setting up of the Transition Council we have just sworn in for six months. We thank the Speaker and the House for this great collaboration and for selflessly doing the work for which we were roundly and overwhelmingly voted into office to execute.”
Umo explained that, “we have made provisions in the 2024 Budget for the conduct of Local Government Election, after the expiration of the current Transition period.
“The Akwa Ibom State Independent Electoral Commission (AKISIEC), has already commenced the process that would lead to the announcement of the date for election of new Chairmen of Local Government Councils.
“Now back to the newly sworn -in Council Chairmen, I expect you to partner with us. You must, in the course of your stay in office, execute at least one laudable project that will touch and impact the lives of the people of your respective council areas.
“My Monitoring and Evaluation Team will be on ground to ensure that, this is done. We are determined and dedicated to ensuring that we bring development to our people, especially in the rural areas, in line with the Arise Agenda. You are the Chief Security Officer in your respective Councils, you must ensure that you maintain peace and create harmonious relationship with your people.
“Let me state very clearly that you must reside in your respective Local Government Areas. You cannot administer your councils from another location. According to Section 78 of Akwa Local Government (Administration) Law 2017; “The principal Officers of the Local Government shall reside in their respective Local Government Councils. A contravention of this section shall be deemed to be a misconduct and as such an indictable offense.” The definition of the Principal Officers is further explained in Section 83 of the same law. I encourage you all to get familiar with these sections.
“In addition, I want to emphasize emphatically that zoning must and will be maintained. I encourage and expect this, to be followed to the letter. If zoning does not favour you, please do not waste your time or resources to pursue an office; you will not get it.
“Let me use this opportunity, to again thank the 354, 348 people of Akwa Ibom State who voted overwhelmingly to elect me as the Governor of this great State. Your vote was not just for me alone, it was for good governance, for continuity, growth and progress of our people. On this, I pledge my passionate dedication to ensuring that the confidence and faith you reposed in me will be maintained, in line with our ARISE Economic Blueprint.”
He enjoined them to be less individualistic and be more community-minded in their engagements, adding that any leader who does not carry their people along, or is seen to be selfish will be by-passed for the interest of the common good.
Stressing the need for the people of the state to feel the effect of governance, the governor added that, “since I came in, I have led a government where people are carried along, where we feel the pulse of the people. Today, a mere seven months down the road, we have appointed Personal Assistants in all the wards, we have equally appointed several Aides, Honorary Special Advisers. More will come.
“Mathew 20: 1-16, The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard captures my approach in this matter. Some were appointed in the morning, afternoon and some in the evening, even one hour to the close of work, and they still got the same rewards. So I enjoin those who may not yet have been appointed to exercise patience and stay committed.
“Once again, I congratulate you all. Let’s go to work and galvanize our people to Arise and collectively usher in the Golden Era of our progress, growth and development. God bless us all!”